Opera Idaho

2023-2024 Emerging Artists

Nini Marchese

Karen Kelley

Camron Gray

Grant Jackson

Soprano Nini Marchese received her Bachelor of Music from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and her Master of Music from the University of North Texas. She won first place at the Soiree Lyrique Vocal Competition and was the winner of the Thomas J. Smith Scholarship Competition. Recent productions include the touring version of The Elixir of Love with Dallas Opera, Hansel and Gretel with Denton County Opera, and The Tender Land with Utah Festival Opera. Click here for full bio.

Mezzo-soprano Karen Kelley is originally from Jefferson City, MO. She received a Master of Music in Opera Performance from Arizona State University. Last season, Karen took part in Opera Steamboat’s pilot Resident Artist program in which she performed the role of the Queen in Lori Laitman’s Three Feathers. In addition, she was a featured soloist with Chandler Opera Company in their inaugural Welcome to the Opera concert. At the beginning of this season, she debuted as an Apprentice Artist with Sarasota Opera, performing the role of La Madre in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. This summer, Karen sings as a debut Apprentice Artist with the Santa Fe Opera. Click here for full bio.

Tenor Camron Gray is a native of Winchester, Tennessee who has performed solo recitals, concert repertoire, and opera across the United States since 2010. He has studied and taught a variety of subject areas such as K-12 music, voice, acting, language acquisition, public speaking & presentation, and served as an artistic consultant for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in opera. Recent productions include L’ellisir d’Amore with Opera Huntsville; and Blue with Seattle Opera, Toledo Opera, and Glimmerglass Festival. Click here for full bio.

Baritone Grant Jackson is an active performer of opera, oratorio, art song, and early music. Grant holds a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, and a master’s degree in vocal performance from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. In the 2023 season, Grant made his company debut with the prestigious Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, NY, singing the role of Milo Carter in the world premiere of The Rip Van Winkles, a new youth opera from Ben Morris and Laura Fuentes, as well as covering the role of Schaunard in Puccini’s La bohème. He has also appeared with Bach Society Houston, Harmonia Stellarum, Jazz Houston, Collegium Cincinnati, the VocalArts Ensemble, Queen City Opera, and the Colorado Bach Ensemble, among others.

Emerging Artist Program

In the 2017-2018 season, Opera Idaho established its Young Artists program, renamed to Emerging Artists in 2020. The Emerging Artists program is designed to provide training and performance experience for talented singers at the beginning of their professional careers. From September 2023 through April 2024, these artists are placed in a nurturing environment, treated as professionals, and provided with compensation and a comfortable place to live.

During the 2023-2024 season the new class of Emerging Artists will tour the Treasure Valley and surrounding areas with our school outreach program, introducing students in grades K through 12 to opera. They will also be filling smaller roles in our mainstage operas as well as serving as understudies for the lead roles and participating in smaller performances throughout the season.

Applications for the 2023-2024 season are now closed.

Sponsor an Emerging Artist

Sponsor one of the 2023-2024 Opera Idaho Emerging Artists: $5,000


  • Sponsor’s name tied to the Emerging Artist of your choice in printed & web marketing materials throughout the season
  • Recognition of sponsorship on the supertitle screen prior to performances
  • Verbal recognition of sponsorship at any Emerging Artist specific programs including the fall recital in Boise and McCall, Operatinis, and the free education outreach performances
  • A 30-minute performance by your sponsored Emerging Artist in your home or at an event of your choosing
  • Invitation to a Emerging Artist meet & greet event exclusive for sponsors which includes wine, appetizers and a chance to attend a rehearsal

Your sponsorship helps Opera Idaho provide the following benefits for the four Emerging Artists while in the program:

  • Financial compensation
  • Housing and transportation assistance
  • Health insurance
  • Coaching sessions with professional vocal coaches
  • Performance opportunities to help build their résumé

Past Participants


Rebecca Achtenberg

Cornelia Lotito

Justin Kroll

Jake Surzyn


Victoria Esposito

Sable Strout

Patrick Starke

Jack Canfield


Cara Gabrielson

Ashley Kay Armstrong

Max Jacob Zander

Radames Andrew Gil


Anna Polum

Tahanee Aluwihare

Ting Li

Micah Schroeder


Christopher Hochstuhl

James P. Held

Ryan Bradford